Jhuma Bhasak

Arts Collaboration

Grant Period: Over one year

Jhuma Basak is a choreographer and a psychoanalyst. She is a trained Odissi, Bharatanatyam and Kathakali dancer. She is also a freelance writer.

Given the absence of contemporary dance schools and limited performance opportunities in India, modern dance has developed unevenly, relying heavily on the independent initiative of a few choreographers. Therefore, the younger generation of contemporary dancers have also lacked opportunities to reach out to their counterparts in other regions for support, dialogue, and engagement.

This grant supports collaboration between three dancers - Jhuma Basak, Tripura Kashyap, and Vishwakant Singha – who have felt isolated in their respective artistic environments. They are alike in having established independent groups, shown promise as soloists, and received exposure to modern dance in the West as well as traditional styles in India.

Each of the dancers has perceived interesting similarities and differences in their work. They also discovered a common interest in gradually moving toward working with untrained bodies, breaking away from stereotypical dance movements in search of a more immediate, everyday, and dynamic language for the body.

These points of contact and divergence have made the three dancers curious to discover how their different concepts of modern dance can enrich their work as individual dancers and collaborators. Their interaction is expected to result in joint and individual pieces of choreography. Their second objective is to explore the possibility of establishing a network of modern dance practitioners.

Sharing their approaches to training, preparation, improvisation and composition, and their knowledge of various dance styles, each will strive to assist the others to achieve a deeper understanding of their own search. The interaction with the music composer, Rajivan, and the sculptor, Anita Bhattacharya, is also conceived as a two-way process. They will create music and images with the aim of stimulating as well as responding to dance improvisations. The sculptor is also expected to help in the shaping of the narrative structure and design for the dance productions.

The location of project activities will shift between Bangalore, Delhi and Calcutta, providing the dancers with the opportunity to work in one another's artistic context. The dancers also plan to visit other cities to share their experience with other choreographers. Jhuma, who has written on work processes in the performing arts, will capture the creative process in a work diary, on audio tape and through photographs. The documented material will be made available to other dancers.

Collaborator: Jhuma Basak, dancer, Calcutta
Tripura Kashyap, dancer, Bangalore
Vishwakant Singha, dancer, Delhi